Materials Science News

New Breakthrough May Lead to Instant-Start Computers

December 19, 2014

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Instant Start Computers Made Possible

Using a room-temperature magnetoelectric memory device, engineers at Cornell University have made a breakthrough that may lead to instant-start computers. Ithaca, New York – To encode data, today’s computer memory technology uses electric currents – a major limiting factor for reliability and shrinkability, and the source of significant power consumption. If data could instead be […]

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Engineers Show Tiny Liquid Drops Can Make Solids Stiffer

December 16, 2014

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Engineers Stiffen Solids with Liquid Inclusions

Engineers from Yale University have strengthened solid materials by using very small embedded liquid droplets. Engineers at Yale University have discovered that the stiffness of liquid drops embedded in solids has something in common with Goldilocks: While large drops of liquids are softer than the solid that surrounds them, extremely tiny drops of liquid can […]

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Valleytronics Help Researchers Move Toward a New Kind of 2D Microchip

December 15, 2014

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A New Kind of 2D Microchip

Using an approach called valleytronics, a team of researchers has cleared hurdles toward a new kind of 2D microchip that uses different electron properties. New findings from a team at MIT and other institutions could provide a pathway toward a kind of two-dimensional microchip that would make use of a characteristic of electrons other than […]

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Colloidal Quantum Dots Allow Solar Cells to Be Sprayed on Products

December 10, 2014

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Researchers Develop New Technique for Spraying Solar Cells

Using miniscule light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots, scientists from the University of Toronto have developed new technique for spraying solar cells onto products. Pretty soon, powering your tablet could be as simple as wrapping it in cling wrap. That’s Illan Kramer’s hope. Kramer and colleagues have just invented a new way to spray […]

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Microbullets Demonstrate Graphene’s Energy Absorbing Strength

December 1, 2014

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Microbullets Confirm the Strength of Graphene

A newly published study from Rice University shows that graphene is 10 times better than steel at absorbing the energy of a penetrating projectile. Graphene’s great strength appears to be determined by how well it stretches before it breaks, according to Rice University scientists who tested the material’s properties by peppering it with microbullets. The […]

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New 2D Materials Exhibit Exotic Quantum Properties

November 21, 2014

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2D Quantum Materials Exhibit Quantum Spin Hall Effect

A newly published study from MIT details a theoretical analysis showing that a family of two-dimensional materials exhibits exotic quantum properties that may enable a new type of nanoscale electronics. These materials are predicted to show a phenomenon called the quantum spin Hall (QSH) effect, and belong to a class of materials known as transition […]

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Engineers Use Voltage to Control Magnetic Memory

November 20, 2014

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Researchers Control a Material with Voltage

New research details how a MIT-based team has made important strides in the concept of using an electrical signal to control a magnetic memory. A new way of switching the magnetic properties of a material using just a small applied voltage, developed by researchers at MIT and collaborators elsewhere, could signal the beginning of a […]

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Scientists Synthesize an Entirely New Form of Silicon

November 17, 2014

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Scientists Synthesize a New Form of Silicon

Using a novel high-pressure precursor process, scientists from the Carnegie Institution for Science have synthesized an entirely new form of silicon. Washington, D.C. — Silicon is the second most-abundant element in the earth’s crust. When purified, it takes on a diamond structure, which is essential to modern electronic devices—carbon is to biology as silicon is […]

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Scientists Construct Microswimmers for Medical Applications

November 10, 2014

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Researchers Develop Nano Devices That Can be Propelled Through Media Similar to Bodily Fluids

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute have constructed swimming bodies that are small enough to be used in bodily fluids or even individual cells, and they are able to navigate through complex biological fluids. In the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage, a submarine complete with crew is shrunk in size so that it can navigate through […]

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New Sodium-Conducting Material Significantly Outperforms All Others in Its Class

November 5, 2014

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New Sodium-Conducting Material Could Improve Rechargeable Batteries

Scientists have discovered a sodium-based complex metal hydride material that has the potential to be a much cheaper alternative to the lithium-based conductors used in many rechargeable batteries today. Rechargeable battery manufacturers may get a jolt from research performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and several other institutions, where a team […]

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Special Coating Prevents Batteries from Conducting Electricity after Being Swallowed

November 4, 2014

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Special Coating Makes Batteries Safer

A new special coating developed by a team of researchers prevents electrical current from damaging the digestive tract after accidental battery ingestion. Every year, nearly 4,000 children go to emergency rooms after swallowing button batteries — the flat, round batteries that power toys, hearing aids, calculators, and many other devices. Ingesting these batteries has severe […]

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Scientists Create Dual-Purpose Film for Energy Storage

November 3, 2014

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Rice Chemists Gain Edge in Next-Gen Energy Storage

Rice University scientists create dual-purpose film for energy storage based on molybdenum disulfide that is efficient as both a catalyst for hydrogen production and for energy storage. Rice University scientists who want to gain an edge in energy production and storage report they have found it in molybdenum disulfide. The Rice lab of chemist James […]

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New Target Finding Mechanism Allows Microscopic Devices to Autonomously Find Their Way

October 23, 2014

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New Technology Allows Microscopic Devices to Autonomously Find Their Way

Researchers from MIT have developed a new target-finding mechanism that allows microscopic devices to autonomously find their way to areas of a cell surface. Nature has developed a wide variety of methods for guiding particular cells, enzymes, and molecules to specific structures inside the body: White blood cells can find their way to the site […]

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New Hybrid Materials Could Far Surpass the Current Solar Efficiency Limits

October 13, 2014

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New Hybrid Materials Could Smash the Solar Efficiency Ceiling

Scientists from the University of Cambridge have developed a new method for transferring energy from organic to inorganic semiconductors that could boost the efficiency of widely used inorganic solar cells. Researchers have developed a new method for harvesting the energy carried by particles known as ‘dark’ spin-triplet excitons with close to 100% efficiency, clearing the […]

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Solid Nanoparticles Keep Their Internal Structure While Deforming Like a Liquid

October 13, 2014

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New Research Shows Solid Nanoparticles Can Deform Like a Liquid

Using a combination of laboratory analysis and computer modeling, new research shows that nanoparticles keep their internal crystal structure while deforming like a liquid. A surprising phenomenon has been found in metal nanoparticles: They appear, from the outside, to be liquid droplets, wobbling and readily changing shape, while their interiors retain a perfectly stable crystal […]

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